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The research-driven guide to the leadership behaviours which create more engaged workplaces and higher performance, Extraordinary Leadership in Australia and New Zealand is a guidebook for what it takes, at any level of an organisation, to bring out the best in people. And full of insights not just from people who are making a difference, but also evidence from their direct reports, colleagues and managers about the impact that The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® has on them and their performance.

Drawing upon empirical data from more than 75,000 people in the Australian and New Zealand workforce, the authors document how The Five Practices are being applied here, and also compares this region with data from 28 other countries. Interviews with more than 100 leaders and their teams provide real examples and practical applications within the grasp of every reader who aspires to make a difference.

Case studies are balanced across gender, function, and industry providing a broad perspective, identifying why leadership matters, and offering keen insights into how you lead others to greatness.

  • Study examples of extraordinary leadership in Australia and New Zealand
  • Discover the behaviours that make great leaders, and why they're so important
  • Examine the research that shows how leadership affects engagement and organisational performance
  • Learn why people need great leadership, and why it motivates them to perform at their best

Leadership must be nurtured. While all leaders are born, great leaders are made! With expectations higher than ever, and resources unprecedentedly scarce, today's leaders face some of the most difficult, complex organisational challenges yet. Extraordinary Leadership in Australia and New Zealand presents a data-driven framework for being an effective leader, with expert guidance toward the actions that you can take to improve the performance of your team and organisation.


James Kouzes is the Dean's Executive Fellow of Leadership for the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University, an award-winning industry thought-leader, and a highly sought-after international speaker.

Barry Posner is the award-winning Accolti Endowed Professor of Leadership at the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University, and an internationally renowned scholar and educator.

Kouzes and Posner have written over 30 books and workbooks on leadership, including The Leadership Challenge, now in its fifth edition. They have been at the forefront of leadership research for over three decades.

Michael Bunting is the Founder and Managing Director of leadership development consultancy WorkSmart Australia, and a guest lecturer in the University of Sydney's award-winning Executive MBA program.


Introduction: The Leadership Challenge in Australasia xi

1 Exemplary leadership: creating high engagement and extraordinary results 1

2 Model the Way 19

3 Inspire a Shared Vision 37

4 Challenge the Process 55

5 Enable Others to Act 73

6 Encourage the Heart 91

7 Exemplary Leadership = High Engagement = Great Results 109

Endnotes 121

Acknowledgements 125

About the authors 131

Suggested reading 137

Index 145


Kouzes, Posner & Bunting have produced a truly enjoyable and highly relevant read on leadership and engagement. Reassuringly, they demonstrate that great leadership is grounded in common sense and humanity.  That is consistent with our experience at Virgin.  The book benefits enormously from a wealth of real world examples.  It is notable that many of the leaders whose experience is referred to are not CEOs, but rather people at all levels of a variety of different organisations who have faced the challenges inherent in successfully leading people.  It is axiomatic that successful leadership results in high employee engagement.  In purely commercial terms engagement creates a sustainable competitive advantage.  It also acknowledges the broader role of business in the community to develop people to their fullest potential.  James, Barry & Michael have produced a work in an Australasian context which identifies universal rules that will be of value to all people managers who want to take on new challenges or refresh their approach to achieve more.
--Josh Bayliss, CEO Virgin Group (Worldwide)

I have been using the Five Practices framework to develop my executive and managerial students' leadership skills, and in the past I had to make the necessary adjustments to connect those practices to the distinctive elements of leadership in the Australasian region. Happily, this new book makes those adjustments for me, offering many useful examples that connect directly to my students' experience. The framework is now even more relevant and appropriate for Australasian students and practitioners
--Arran Caza, Associate Professor of Management, Griffith Business School

I am delighted to see the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership brought to life and embedded in our historically and geographically distinctive Australasian leadership context. This classic and globally practiced approach to leadership has stood the test of time in the way that many others have not. The exemplary leaders that are liberally featured in this book provide compelling evidence of the power of this framework as it has been applied to a wide range of organisations within Australia and New Zealand. This book should become a compulsory mainstay of the leadership libraries of both emerging and established leaders from all sectors of the economy.
--Professor Brad Jackson, Head of School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Kouzes, Posner and Bunting effectively demonstrate that great leaders can be made, not born, if only they take their people on the journey with them. These five principles are compulsory reading for all prospective leaders and for those seeking more sustainable success.
--Mandy Johnson, author of Family Village Tribe and Winning the War for Talent

What an absolute delight it is to read this new take on the classic The Leadership Challenge. There is no doubt that when it comes to leadership, culture really matters, and Kouzes, Posner and Bunting have written the definitive guide for those of us in Australia and New Zealand. With fresh local examples and case studies, this is a must-read book.
--Dr David Keane, author of The Art of DeliberateSuccess

A remarkable piece of work for Australasian leaders! Many books on leadership set about describing strategies for leaders to implement to achieve extraordinary results. This book takes things one giant leap forward by embedding those strategies within the unique Australasian leadership context. In doing just this, Kouzes, Posner and Bunting have provided all Australasian leaders with something that has been truly lacking for some time. A must read for all Australasian leaders.
--Professor Gary Martin, CEO, Australian Institute of Management WA

This book provides essential cultural intelligence on the distinctive challenges of leadership within Australasia. Drawing on extensive experience working in the region and a wealth of original data, two of the world's leading authorities, Kouzes and Posner, along with Michale Bunting, provide fresh insight and compelling conclusions. This is storytelling at its best--direct, honest, unassuming and intensely practical--just the way Australians and New Zealanders like it.
--Martyn Newman PhD, author of Emotional Capitalists and co-author of Emotion Capital Report (ECR)

This book is valuable for leaders at all levels to understand the fundamentals of succeeding in leadership, especially in the context of Australia and New Zealand culture. I also recommend it to successful Australasian leaders making an international move, in order to gain self-awareness of what has made you successful to date, and which aspects you may need to play differently in a new culture.
--Charlotte Park, Partner and Managing Director, Mercer Singapore

This book is both a testament to exemplary leadership in Australia and New Zealand and a practical guide to improving your own leadership. I couldn't help but feel a sense of pride reading all the examples of local leaders embodying The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership. But we can't rest on the leadership laurels of the few. The authors challenge all of us to step up and become the CEO in our sphere of influence--with practical guidance that has stood the test of time on how to get there. It's a must read.
--Dr Michelle Pizer, Executive Coach, Organisational and Counselling Psychologist

This book is important and reminds us that leaders need to bring out the best of themselves to bring out the best in others. Too often leaders forget the real purpose of leadership and get lost in the details and data. The authors succinctly show the way for leaders to get extraordinary things done in Australasia.
--Luke Sayers, CEO PwC Australia and Vice Chairman PwC Asia

The book illustrates why leadership is so critical to the success of our organisations today. It succeeds in illustrating the 'business case' for leadership development and is a must read for anyone serious about improving their leadership culture and their bottom line results.
--Jane Sherlock, Executive General Manager--People, Leighton Contractors

At last! Stories from Aussie and Kiwi leaders for Aussie and Kiwi leaders crafted around an elengantly simpe and profound model of leadership. Kouzes, Posner and Bunting set out to guide us towards 'greater heart, greater wisdom and greater effectiveness'. They have delivered admirably. 
--Dr Mark Strom, business philosopher and author of Lead with Wisdom

A great read for all leaders operating in the Australasian region. Kouzes, Posner and Bunting have brought to life The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership with examples those of us in the region can relate to. They argue persuasively that leadership matters as does the context in which it happens. Read and reflect, and your leadership will be better for it.
--Professor Chris Styles, Dean, UNSW Business School